Obviously I'm Not There will be big (it is produced by Christine Vachon and written/directed by Todd Haynes after all), as will Margot at the Wedding and Away From Her. I think Juno and Lars and the Real Girl will do alright, but perhaps not as good as you would expect - that happens with the ISAs, movies and performances that you would assume to show up everywhere just... don't. Movies like Before Sunset have been big near no shows in the past.
But, really, half the fun with the ISAs is seeing how batshit bonkers they go. That's why I think we'll see Kate Winslet and Margot Martindale get best supporting actress nominations for Romance & Cigarettes and Paris je t'aime respectively, we'll see Ang Lee's Lust, Caution get a cinematography nomination and nothing else despite ample opportunities, John Cusack for Grace is Gone, Waitress getting a token nom for Adrienne Shelley as director and screenplay. And is Gone Baby Gone eligible? What about stuff like No Country for Old Men or The Namesake. That's why the ISAs are so frustrating!
One thing I've noticed over the years is that when an actor has a performance in the thick of Oscar contention, yet is ineligible for the ISAs for a bevy of reasons (budget, studios, etc) they will nominate them for something completely random and ridiculous. Like when Jamie Foxx had Ray guiding him to the Oscar podium the ISAs nominated him for a TV movie called Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story or Forrest Whitaker getting nominated for the awful American Gun. This begs the question - have people like Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Amy Adams, Kelly Macdonald, Javier Bardem, Casey Affleck been in small movies that could qualify? Is Denzel Washington's The Great Debators (a Weinstein release) eligible in that regard?
Another thing they do is if their best picture category is filled with higher profile indie films they'll throw a bizarre left field choice in just so they can continue say they're supporting actual independent cinema. Like when they nominated Primer or Raising Victor Vargas, which is why in between the likes of the films by Todd Haynes, Noah Baumbach, Sarah Polley and John Carney (Once) you will find something like 2 Days in Paris or Redacted.
However, once it's all said and done I think there is one thing I really want to see nominated:
I just think that would be tops!
The nominations are in and they are as random as I predicted, but things that I thought may happen did not. Of course, the eligibility of Paris je t'aime, Romance & Cigarettes, Once and Redacted may be in question. They nominated Paranoid Park for best feature, which totally fills the slot of "the true indie surrounded by studio movies". I still don't get how something like Diving Bell and the Butterfly can get a best feature nom and no best foreign film nom.
It was nice to see people like Sienna Miller nominated though. I've heard nothing but good about her so it's nice to see her nominated over people like Kidman and Linney - as great as they may be - although that Linney snub is bizarre. And of all the men from I'm Not There (Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, etc) that they chose to nominate Carl Marcus Franklin is both surprising and refreshing. And speaking of Bale, they nominate Steve Zahn for Rescue Dawn, but not Christian Bale for the same flick when it's Bale getting most of the praise?
So, yet again, the ISAs are "batshit bonkers" and you can't deny it. Also, now that it has best feature and best director nominations can someone get around to finally releasing Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park. I am quite desperate to it!